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Posted: 10/24/2016 5:25:08 PM EDT
TL;DR at bottom

I know there has been several engineering threads in the past but I'm trying to focus this one a bit more.

I'm a junior(ish) right now at ASU and just now starting to get into my major specific classes and sometimes I find myself wondering if I'm headed in the right direction. I just don't find the classes I'm in right now all that enjoyable except for solidworks or circuits lab. I know school isn't exactly supposed to be enjoyable but I leave feeling pretty 'meh' most days.

I worked in the commercial refrigeration industry for 10 years and really enjoyed it and was in the process of starting up my own business when I had back surgery and the doctor said find something else to do. So I'm in school more or less because I didn't know what else to do.

I think I would enjoy a career more as a field engineer that was doing hands on stuff but I look at the pay scale and it's hard to swallow going to school for 4 years and dropping 30k plus when i'll get a job making probably less than I was previously making and max out at 10-20k at best over what I was making in refrigeration.

I find no joy in numerical methods or calc/diff eq/lienar though I did well in those classes. I don't find coding/matlab/java interesting at all though I can usually stumble through it.

I guess what I'm asking is can I find a job once I graduate that doesn't involve non-stop solving equations and/or coding. Since that's my life right now I feel like that's what a job would be like.

I much more enjoy the design/building/problem solving part of things, unfortunately there isn't that much of it at school. Would prefer hands on overall but understand that's unlikely in the ME field.

TL;DR - In engineering school. Don't like math or coding. Should I quit now or suffer through? What could an ACTUAL career be like that doesn't involve those as 90% of my daily duties? Any ME's actually hands on?
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:37:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By superdrag67:
TL;DR at bottom

I know there has been several engineering threads in the past but I'm trying to focus this one a bit more.

I'm a junior(ish) right now at ASU and just now starting to get into my major specific classes and sometimes I find myself wondering if I'm headed in the right direction. I just don't find the classes I'm in right now all that enjoyable except for solidworks or circuits lab. I know school isn't exactly supposed to be enjoyable but I leave feeling pretty 'meh' most days.

I worked in the commercial refrigeration industry for 10 years and really enjoyed it and was in the process of starting up my own business when I had back surgery and the doctor said find something else to do. So I'm in school more or less because I didn't know what else to do.

I think I would enjoy a career more as a field engineer that was doing hands on stuff but I look at the pay scale and it's hard to swallow going to school for 4 years and dropping 30k plus when i'll get a job making probably less than I was previously making and max out at 10-20k at best over what I was making in refrigeration.

I find no joy in numerical methods or calc/diff eq/lienar though I did well in those classes. I don't find coding/matlab/java interesting at all though I can usually stumble through it.

I guess what I'm asking is can I find a job once I graduate that doesn't involve non-stop solving equations and/or coding. Since that's my life right now I feel like that's what a job would be like.

I much more enjoy the design/building/problem solving part of things, unfortunately there isn't that much of it at school. Would prefer hands on overall but understand that's unlikely in the ME field.

TL;DR - In engineering school. Don't like math or coding. Should I quit now or suffer through? What could an ACTUAL career be like that doesn't involve those as 90% of my daily duties? Any ME's actually hands on?
View Quote


I've been in the game over 30 years and haven't used any of that shit since the invention of desktop computers with FEA programs. I do hands on design and some prototyping and testing. go work at a small place that's not all ate up with red tape and you can still have fun.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:44:19 PM EDT
AE, but close enough. I work on the operations side, so I don't do a lot of math or coding. And that's just how I like it. You do have to have some understanding of how and why your tools work the way they do, however.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:56:27 PM EDT
It varies based on the job.

I think mechanical is one of the wider fields of engineering in as much as it has the most variability. Some ME jobs are coding and analytical tool use all the time like designing a remote monitoring system for rotating equipment predictive maintenance programs, some are designing locking differential components for 4 wheelers and then "testing" them

I will concur that FEA and CFD programs have cut down on the pencil whipping. You still have to have a basis to understand what they are telling you though. A good engineer will end up roped into lots of projects that you wouldn't expect and often go on to management.

Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:57:51 PM EDT
At first I designed engine parts.

Quickly got burned out on automotive engineering.

Now I'm a sales engineer and I wouldn't want a different career... ever.

Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:59:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By superdrag67:
TL;DR at bottom

I know there has been several engineering threads in the past but I'm trying to focus this one a bit more.

I'm a junior(ish) right now at ASU and just now starting to get into my major specific classes and sometimes I find myself wondering if I'm headed in the right direction. I just don't find the classes I'm in right now all that enjoyable except for solidworks or circuits lab. I know school isn't exactly supposed to be enjoyable but I leave feeling pretty 'meh' most days.

I worked in the commercial refrigeration industry for 10 years and really enjoyed it and was in the process of starting up my own business when I had back surgery and the doctor said find something else to do. So I'm in school more or less because I didn't know what else to do.

I think I would enjoy a career more as a field engineer that was doing hands on stuff but I look at the pay scale and it's hard to swallow going to school for 4 years and dropping 30k plus when i'll get a job making probably less than I was previously making and max out at 10-20k at best over what I was making in refrigeration.

I find no joy in numerical methods or calc/diff eq/lienar though I did well in those classes. I don't find coding/matlab/java interesting at all though I can usually stumble through it.

I guess what I'm asking is can I find a job once I graduate that doesn't involve non-stop solving equations and/or coding. Since that's my life right now I feel like that's what a job would be like.

I much more enjoy the design/building/problem solving part of things, unfortunately there isn't that much of it at school. Would prefer hands on overall but understand that's unlikely in the ME field.

TL;DR - In engineering school. Don't like math or coding. Should I quit now or suffer through? What could an ACTUAL career be like that doesn't involve those as 90% of my daily duties? Any ME's actually hands on?
View Quote


I thought you guys built mechanical waste disposal systems for the International Space Station?!?

You know, the kind that malfunctions under testing/ repair and barfs a meatloaf onto the ceiling?
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 5:59:16 PM EDT
Most of my ME friends are doing hands on stuff.


Some beat the shit out of cars doing transmission design work.



Another does failure analysis on home appliances.


All of them like their jobs and have plenty of options to go elsewhere if it strikes their fancy.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:00:59 PM EDT
I own a company that provides HVAC, plumbing and fire sprinkler designs to architects and contractors. We also do some forensic work, mainly insurance investigations.

I use almost none of the "stuff" I learned in school in a detailed sense, but the background theories and problem solving are applied multiple times a day.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:02:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2016 6:06:55 PM EDT by BLK_MAJK]
You sound exactly like me. I have a BSME, hated calc/diff eq/c++/etc. I am a hands on problem solving type, not a guy to push a desk. Currently, my job is "Launch engineer" for an automotive tier 1 supplier. I coordinate tooling and equipment coming into plant (including on site runoff), help establish/troubleshoot manufacturing processes, ensure APQP documentation is done by the appropriate parties and lead build events leading up to launch. The only math I do is making sure I have enough components/parts to cover the launch builds at the OEM plants
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:06:06 PM EDT
ME here. I make shit work.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:18:36 PM EDT
I've been at it 30 years.

Started out designing home appliances. Nothing fancy but it paid the bills. Mostly making things fit together and strong enough without being to expensive.

Then 12 years designing fire protection equipment - mostly sprinkler heads and valves. Not much analysis, lots of prototyping and testing. Ended up doing a fair amount of forensics, which can be pretty interesting.

Current gig has been 16 years of primarily custom industrial equipment. It's a great job and I love it. A few of us do analysis - I handle most of the structural and pressure vessels. I've really gotten into welding and metallurgy, which is interesting to me.
Most of the guys in our department are grinding out pretty standard stuff - conveyors, platforms, tanks, piping layouts. Plenty of guys seem content doing that.

Most days I get to work directly with the guys doing the work (We fab, machine and have a large field service group at our company).

Today I worked with one welder who was fitting a replacement manway in a pressure vessel, started the evaluation of a second pressure vessel that has corrosion issues, did some work on a layout of a custom truck body frame and worked on a report for remediation of a failing seal in a pharma mixer. On my way out I talked to one of our salesmen who wants me to evaluate and upgrade some failing 4" tierods on a press.

CAD skills have been vital at my jobs. PE license was a real leg up at my last job and this one.

Do you have any internships? Make that a priority.(mine were before they were widespread, but they were critical to my career choices).
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:20:15 PM EDT
Post on arf all day.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:20:46 PM EDT
the ones here all jibber jabber in spanish all day and sit on there worthless asses..
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:21:06 PM EDT
Aerospace industry but we build training mockups for Astronauts. Not a lot of calcs but I did when I selected pumps for Oil&Gas. I like to do stress cals or fluids every once in a while but not every day. I use SolidWorks or Creo to create models and make drawings. Interact with machine shops etc. Real laid back as have been most of my jobs. Don't work for a startup though, whew.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:21:09 PM EDT
Development project engineer - given projects and budgets. Direct the "sciences" engineers to do the detail design, just oversee and approve their work. Also responsible for hitting milestones on time without overspending (not so fun part). Don't need to utilize hands on modeling, but it helps when you are falling behind or if someone is trying to BS you. I jump in and help once in a while to exercise what I learned in school. The job changes as it progresses through the developement process, so very seldom gets boring. I work for a big corp and also have fun.

Field engineers generally wouldn't need an engineering degree, more of an experience gig. Product support engineers tend to have the engineering degree, develope fixes for problems the field guys discover and work with project engineers for product improvement. (job duties described are for working at a larger operation. Small companies tend to have overlapping responsibilities). You would need to occasionally tag along with FE's to understand field issues.

I would guess you would be happy in a PSE role, start pay should be mid 60's with good benefits, 100+ within 10 yrs, or consult for more. Find a company to intern at in your area of interest with hopes of hire after you get your degree.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:21:47 PM EDT
95% of the time is spent getting disagreeable assholes to work with each other.

5% of the time is spent on something resembling actual engineering work, design, etc.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:23:08 PM EDT
MET, now a Project Engineer for a very large privately owned steel foundry. Today I did some stuff in Excel and spent time at the company golf course with one of the owners checking out some stuff in the cart maintenance shed. Two weeks ago I was at a conference for additive manufacturing.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:23:24 PM EDT


I'm in Management so I mainly go to meetings all day and make fun of other engineers for their mistakes.

Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:25:10 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Mech2007:


I'm in Management so I mainly go to meetings all day and make fun of other engineers for their mistakes.

View Quote

Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:26:03 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 94TBlazer:
ME here. I make shit work.
View Quote


THIS


That is what we do. Make shit work. Bottom line.


I am an ME in the energy industry, more on the research side. I spend 50% of my time getting dirty and turning wrenches, and the other 50% designing, sizing, procuring equipment, etc. ME's can be 100% bean counters, or 100% MacGyver-in-the-field hands on fix anything guys.

It all depends on who you work for and what you want to do.

OP - You should do very well in HVAC, take the HVAC electives that are available. They are very practical engineering classes.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:26:58 PM EDT
Do you mind managing people? Refineries, chemical production, etc managers often have an engineering degree, but can get involved in practical application more so than design. I quit after 3 semesters but have a some foundation. I sometimes run some heat and efficiency numbers but nothing too complicated. I find myself getting burnt out dealing with employees and their "issues" and wonder what it would be like had I finished school and got a real engineering job.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:27:38 PM EDT
ME..I don't do any of that shit u are learning in school. I am a Sales Engineer for the Utilities Industry. I work for a 30,000 employee industry powerhouse that centers around the Water /Waste Water sector. We are hiring mainly AE's..now, our sales outlook is very very solid for the next decade. I could never be stuck in an office all day
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:29:32 PM EDT
All MEs eventually become code monkeys

They learn the basics of a programming language, or 2, and end up coding
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:30:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:32:00 PM EDT




Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:33:51 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Chaingun:
All MEs eventually become code monkeys

They learn the basics of a programming language, or 2, and end up coding
View Quote


I'm fairly adept in Allen Bradley PLC programming
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:34:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2016 6:34:24 PM EDT by Cobalty2004]
I have a BSME and I manage capital projects and support production related activities for a construction material manufacturer.

I am constantly working on all sorts and sizes of projects that benefit my company from a buying a 50 dollar gage to multi-million dollar expansions of our capacity and utilities.

A lot of basic economic principles are needed for my position but it balances out the lack of the hard math and sciences.

We just got a new CEO who is actually doing quite good by us engineers. I asked for 4 million for my projects this fiscal year and I was able to keep a little over three.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:36:17 PM EDT
Why don't you get into the construction side of HVAC/Pipefitting as a project manager?
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:37:31 PM EDT
I tell everyone that an engineer is a guy who figures out how to do for $1.00 what any mechanic can do for $2.00.


Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:38:07 PM EDT
You spend all your time figuring out how to make the impossible shit that your Sales or Business Development departments sold, actually possible..


Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:43:57 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By EdmundGTP:
You spend all your time figuring out how to make the impossible shit that your Sales or Business Development departments sold, actually possible..


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Sales would never do something like that..


















Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:44:28 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By EdmundGTP:
You spend all your time figuring out how to make the impossible shit that your Sales or Business Development departments sold, actually possible..


View Quote
This affects more than just engineers.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:46:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2016 6:48:41 PM EDT by Baldmonk]
I haven't used any of that shit in decades.

I used to be a trouble shooter.

Now I just figure out what something is gonna cost.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:48:35 PM EDT
Not to stereotype ENGs but the ones I know are all pretty much all the same
ME= "I design stuff that everyone ignores because I'm lost"
PE= "I know more than you, possibly I still can't decide"
EE= " I hate the world, everyone is stupid"
AE= "I design small stuff that makes a big difference" and it actually does.

OP, pick the path you would like the most and go with it. Consider Building Science.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:50:21 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By EdmundGTP:
You spend all your time figuring out how to make the impossible shit that your Sales or Business Development departments sold, actually possible..


View Quote


I'm the in house expert on our heat treat furnaces among other things.

About 6 months ago one of our sales guys sent me a set of prints for a part we were quoting. Wanted to know if it would fit in our heat treat furnaces. He felt kinda bad when I told him something to the effect of "Fuck the heat treat furnaces, that part won't fit through a single door in the plant!" We have 18' wide doors...
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:50:24 PM EDT
DO NOT TAKE A CONSULTING FIRM POSITION!!! You will be very under paid for a very long time. Manufacturing is where the money is.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:50:55 PM EDT
Not differential equations.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:51:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2016 6:56:22 PM EDT by memsu]
I manage HVAC controls installations for my company's projects. The projects pay for themselves over a 15-20 year period with energy savings.

Only when I have to do test and balance on air handlers, chillers, and boilers do I ever use what was taught in school. I also perform sequence of operations testing on our programming to ensure it meets our control strategy. If it doesn't operate properly it won't save the customer money and the project won't pay for itself. Savings are guaranteed and are tracked by another department. If we get it wrong on the calculations (not my job) we owe the customer the difference at the end of the year. That's rare, but it has happened and results in us doing more energy saving improvements to improve savings. Every $100 a year in savings is $1500 to $2000 over the life of the project.

I also travel every week and at least get to work with my hands. Helps the day move faster. I'm pretty sure I'd hate an office job.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:54:15 PM EDT
I got on with NASA a bunch of years ago and have done everything from working Shuttle countdowns to robotics to developing systems for mining on the Moon and Mars. There are many very exciting ME jobs out there with hands on work. Rarely do I need higher level math or calculus.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:55:01 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:



Sales would never do something like that..




































View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:
Originally Posted By EdmundGTP:
You spend all your time figuring out how to make the impossible shit that your Sales or Business Development departments sold, actually possible..





Sales would never do something like that..






































This is so true on many levels.


Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:58:03 PM EDT
Always wondered.

In our business "we'll talk to engineering and they will get back to you" basically means go fuck yourself. I had been told that probably 40 times before one day a few strange men showed up with neatly packed tool kits that showed no significant use and started measuring things.

Turns out they were the elusive engineering dept. They actually existed. The wouldnt give us their phone numbers or email addresses because they would have to talk to us if they did.

Now i hear stories of them turning up every year or two at various jobsites. Like the last chupacabras left in the wild. The last of a breed.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:58:30 PM EDT
I got my BSME and worked in aerospace in Wichita for 6 years. I was a stress engineering and did new design and sustaining programs. My favorite work was stress analysis on the 787-9. I used ONE integral in my 6 years, and that's because I wanted to haha. I felt my job was 5-10% actual engineering, and the rest was paperwork and making Strength Check Notes for FAA certification.

I quit 6 years ago and went to med school and am now in year 2/5 in residency doing Radiology. I LOVE my new career.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:58:43 PM EDT
I work in the paper industry. Paper machines are big machines with lots of mechanical equipment. It requires alot of knowledge to design, understand, troubleshoot, and run complex machinery. Most of my team and my strongest performers are METs or MEs. I also hire a lot with farming back ground as they are out of the box thinkers.
Paper making is a interesting field. I has held my interest for 30+ years and.......making toilet paper is a great field for job security. People will give up a lot in a tough economy and they will not stop buying toilet paper :)
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:59:05 PM EDT
Custom design of catalog items (ultra high vacuum chambers), cad generation and generating new designs to bring down cost/manufacturing time.

I've been more in a project management role though and working closely with data management. Our cad library is pretty poor, so I'm tasked with cleaning up models and drawings and administrating the pdm software. That also involves processes and procedures for the engineering group, it's a pretty heavy task.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 6:59:57 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Silverslider:
I work in the paper industry. Paper machines are big machines with lots of mechanical equipment. It requires alot of knowledge to design, understand, troubleshoot, and run complex machinery. Most of my team and my strongest performers are METs or MEs. I also hire a lot with farming back ground as they are out of the box thinkers.
Paper making is a interesting field. I has held my interest for 30+ years and.......making toilet paper is a great field for job security. People will give up a lot in a tough economy and they will not stop buying toilet paper :)
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Engineers who grew up on the farm are worth their weight in gold.

<-- engineer who grew up on the farm and still farms
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:02:27 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:



Engineers who grew up on the farm are worth their weight in gold.


<-- engineer who grew up on the farm and still farms
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Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:
Originally Posted By Silverslider:
I work in the paper industry. Paper machines are big machines with lots of mechanical equipment. It requires alot of knowledge to design, understand, troubleshoot, and run complex machinery. Most of my team and my strongest performers are METs or MEs. I also hire a lot with farming back ground as they are out of the box thinkers.
Paper making is a interesting field. I has held my interest for 30+ years and.......making toilet paper is a great field for job security. People will give up a lot in a tough economy and they will not stop buying toilet paper :)



Engineers who grew up on the farm are worth their weight in gold.


<-- engineer who grew up on the farm and still farms


^this. So many damn interns I'm seeing have no experience turning wrenches or ever using their hands outside of school.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:02:27 PM EDT
Field engineering for a pipeline company.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:04:31 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By krammitthefrog:


^this. So many damn interns I'm seeing have no experience turning wrenches or ever using their hands outside of school.
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Originally Posted By krammitthefrog:
Originally Posted By Pavelow16478:
Originally Posted By Silverslider:
I work in the paper industry. Paper machines are big machines with lots of mechanical equipment. It requires alot of knowledge to design, understand, troubleshoot, and run complex machinery. Most of my team and my strongest performers are METs or MEs. I also hire a lot with farming back ground as they are out of the box thinkers.
Paper making is a interesting field. I has held my interest for 30+ years and.......making toilet paper is a great field for job security. People will give up a lot in a tough economy and they will not stop buying toilet paper :)



Engineers who grew up on the farm are worth their weight in gold.


<-- engineer who grew up on the farm and still farms


^this. So many damn interns I'm seeing have no experience turning wrenches or ever using their hands outside of school.


Yep. In college I worked in the ME machine shop. Been running lathes and mills since I was 7 or so and spent two summers working in the machine shop of a tool and die shop. We had 4.0 mechanical engineers in there working on their senior design project that literally didn't know the difference between a blade or Phillips screwdriver
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:05:21 PM EDT
I now teach, so I'm expected to focus on the stuff many people would sooner ignore.

But, when I was in industry, I did higher-order math quite often. The first project to hit my desk in aerospace was a problem that my entire graduate class failed to successfully solve, and now I had to figure it out, and in a way that didn't put life at undue risk. Every day at work was Thermo I&II, and Heat Transfer. Some days called upon stuff I only learned in grad school.

Of course, there are engineers who never use that stuff again.

There's a job out there for you, somewhere.

But, if your in-major courses don't interest you right now, this is going to be a long year.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:12:08 PM EDT
Manufacturer account manager/sales. I get to do the fun part of engineering without actually engineering anything. Travel to different manufacturing sites, see how stuff is made, and probably better money than a traditional engineering role.

PM me if you want more details about who I work for and what I do.
Link Posted: 10/24/2016 7:21:52 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Silverslider:
I work in the paper industry. Paper machines are big machines with lots of mechanical equipment. It requires alot of knowledge to design, understand, troubleshoot, and run complex machinery. Most of my team and my strongest performers are METs or MEs. I also hire a lot with farming back ground as they are out of the box thinkers.
Paper making is a interesting field. I has held my interest for 30+ years and.......making toilet paper is a great field for job security. People will give up a lot in a tough economy and they will not stop buying toilet paper :)
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I'm surprised that industry hasn't been off shored yet.
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